Saturday, November 28, 2020

My Rogue Stars set up

As I've noted here previously, I've recently started dabbling with Osprey's Rogue Stars sci fi skirmish rules. Reading them I straight away envisaged an urban street wars kind of setting. Something like 1970s New York in space or the underworld scenes in Demolition Man.

For my first couple of test games I just used bits of scenery I already had. I tried to suggest some kind of fuel refinery fenced off on the edge of a scummy part of town. Pretty soon though I was inspired to have a go at some theme-specific pieces.  First up was an overpass. With the rough streets of Hill Street Blues in my mind I was envisaging the denizens of the under-city picking through rubbish while the corporate wage-slaves in their Datsun-Mercedes electrocars whizzed by above.

I made the overpass out of foam core and cardboard. I originally planned three long pieces but then decided that it'd be more visually interesting to have it cross the board at an angle so I sliced one of my road pieces diagonally. I think I may add some rare earth magnets to make the roadway sections stick together.

The piers holding up the road deck were a simple construction. I obtained some rubber stamps that were surplus to requirements. To the handle of each stamp I glued two Renedra plastic bases - I never use the ones that come with Perry or Warlord figures. The road sections were very much a rushed job to see if I could get something made in a couple of evenings. I really should have primed them with spray paint before painting them.

At first the overpass was completely isolated from the under-city. In a way I quite liked the symbolism of this idea but I always intended that at some point I'd build an access ladder or something. However, after a bit another idea came to me...

If you look at pictures of collapsed highway bridges after earthquakes or bombing attacks it's not unusual to see whole sections of roadway fairly intact but at crazy angles. 

I chopped the foam core road-bed with a craft knife held vertically and then added bent reinforcing bars from pieces of paperclip. The attached piece hangs partly from the paperclip and partly from the intact bottom paper layer of the foam core. It's flexible enough to be adjusted to meet the ground below.

The sporty roadster is a kid's toy. The twins now being in their mid-twenties, I think they can manage without it.

After that I started watching Youtube videos of people building terrain out of junk and thought I should give it a go. First up I made this radar/comms tower. I thought it would work in a spaceport type of setting.

The body of the model is a robust card container for posh hot chocolate glued to a CD as a base. The dish itself is a reflector from one of those rotating warning lights. It's glued to a plastic box and detailed with bits from model kits and part of the mechanism of a deodorant spray can! The whole mechanism is glued to the plastic top of a sauce pot from the local Indian take-away that just happened to be the perfect diameter to fit inside the rim of the cylinder. This means that the radar dish can be rotated or even omitted altogether.

The door and surrounds are cardboard with plastic card and rod detailing.

A little more weathering is probably wanted but I'm declaring this usable as-is.

A trip to Poundland (other Pound-based low-cost stores are available) got me a plastic make-up organiser that I thought had an interesting shape. In the end I decided to make it into a row of lock-up garages to go under the overpass.

The roller doors are textured plastic card. The security entry pads are bits from a plastic kit. All other additions, including the roof, are from cardboard.

In painting the lock-ups I decided to try some painting techniques I'd learned from the videos. Lots of streaking where dirty water has dripped down from the roof as you can see. Perhaps less clear is the extensive rust effect on the doors and door frames. I painted them in patchy brown/orange colours before masking off the door areas and then roughly spraying them with hairspray. I then applied the red and green paint and wiped much of it off while it was still wet. On the patches with hairspray the paint won't adhere fully.

I then got ambitious and started on a larger structure, again using techniques learned from Youtube. I envisaged a small industrial unit that had been abandoned and then taken over as the headquarters of a street gang.

Again two cardboard cylinders make up the tank arrangement. I cut a hole in the top and built in an access shaft up the middle. This was made from the cardboard tube from the middle of a roll of aluminium foil. I added a ladder inside made from square-section bamboo skewer. Jamie then pointed out that figures might fall down the hole and get stuck inside so I painted up a winch from a plastic kit and mounted it vertically in the shaft to stop any based figures fitting. The ring structure around the top of the tower is some plastic doohickey I've had lying around for years. No idea what it was originally

The office-cum-works part of the building is largely courtesy of Steve Jobs. It consists of an old iPhone box with part of the packaging of an iPod Nano glued to the top! I'd previously extended the roof of the building with card to meet the base of the tower. The side walls were also extended with card to follow the roof line.

I think I might add some weathered, old lettering advertising the former business to the plinth above the front of the building. I'll also, when I've decided what they are called, add some graffiti tags from the occupying gang.

I've really enjoyed the freedom of building sci fi scenery from junk. I have a couple more plans in mind. I have a disc of MDF that'll make a good landing pad and I'd love to build a small shuttle craft to sit on it.  I also have some ideas for advertising alongside the highway but more of that later.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Intercontinental Hordes

After making contact on the Hordes of the Things Facebook group, Diego Correa and I played a couple of, rather quick, games of Hordes yesterday. We played by Skype; me in Yorkshire and Diego in Santiago, Chile!

Diego's fairly new to the game and although his English is very good, he's struggling a bit with the very precise Barkerese language in which the rules are written. I volunteered to run him through a game. There's no substitute for actual game-time when learning a system.

I thought 28mm was the best scale to use given the limitations of an iPad camera and less-than-stellar lighting. That meant using my Gloranthan armies. Diego chose the Sun Dome Templars (4x Sp inc Gen, 1x Pd, 4x Hd, 1x Sh, 1x He, 1x Rd).

My preferred Gloranthan force is the Wolf Pirates (2x He inc Gen, 1x Pd, 6x Wb) but I decided to make things interesting by wheeling out the Morokanth (5x Wb inc Gen, 3x Mg, 2x Lk).

We played two games and at no time in either game did any of Diego's forces enter the Bad Going. So my Lurkers were wasted? Well, not really, avoiding the Bad Going channelled his army into a narrow space so he wasn't able to outflank me with a Hero/Paladin/Rider strike force.

However, in the first game he didn't need to. The Champion of Garhound (Hero), Vega Goldbreath (Paladin) and the Zebra riders managed to get into close combat with my three elements of Morokanth shaman (Magicians). Diego rolled, I think, three sixes for the combats and I rolled a one, a two, and another one! Three dead Magicians; game over!

Having finished the first game so quickly, we decided to go again starting from the same initial positions. This time there wasn't the early PIP drought that had prevented me getting into any kind of good position in the first game.

Diego had moved his strike force in the beginnings of a flanking move on my left. He would have to go through Bad Going, though, so he would be slowed down from reaching my Magicians. I decided that this game me a chance to take on his Spears with a marginally better-than-even chance if I got in first.

The Morokanth warbands charged forward and managed to hit Solanthos Ironpike and his fellow leaders in the flank while the Morokanth khan's warriors attacked from the front... 

It was only an even chance (+5 versus +5) but if I won Solanthos was dead and the game was over unless Diego could kill my remaining two Warband with a 6:1. 

I think there was a point in it in my favour in the end and Solanthos was sent to meet Yelmalio. General dead and more points lost than the opposition: game over!

So two games played in a couple of hours with time for chatting, eating cheesecake (Diego) drinking wine (me), and a little tactical discussion.  I very much enjoyed meeting Diego and playing my first Hordes in five years (apart from a quick solo session of can-I-remember-these-rules? on Friday evening).  We agreed that we'll definitely do it again sometime.  



Wednesday, November 4, 2020

A Bit of Rogue Stars

I recently picked up a copy of Rogue Stars from the Osprey Wargames range. It had been on my radar for a couple of years. I'd given a copy to Leo, one of the young local gamers, as a Christmas present. I thought it might be a game he could set up on his own as the figure count (4-6 figures a side) is manageably low.

In retrospect, it might not have been the best choice. I'd been anticipating a science fiction version of designer Andrea Sfiligoi's excellent Song of Blades and Heroes but Rogue Stars is considerably more complex. 

However, I thought I'd give is a solo try out using the few 25/28mm sci fi models in my collection. 

The rather pulp-esque aliens I bought at the Penkridge wargames sale a few years back I've statted-up as interstellar police-for-hire like the Judoon in Doctor Who.

They are up against a motley collection of street-warrior types, some of who were painted by Stella three decades ago!

I've decided that a lot of the apparent complexity can be got around reasonably well if you design your force rosters carefully. There are a lot of rules and some variations in target numbers that seem a bit unnecessary but knowing SOBH helped with understanding the basic concepts.

In playing for a couple of hours this evening I've already learned quite a bit. For starters, my police squad, who have only two-handed melee weapons and no medics, are in severe need of reorganising!  

I'm going to persevere with Rogue Stars for a bit - it's fun to build sci fi terrain from bits of junk apart from anything else.  I'll keep you posted.